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Tech-savvy SA Dairy Farmer wins ‘2016 Lion Farmer of the Year’ Award

The ‘2016 Lion Farmer of the Year’ was announced this week with young South Australian dairy farmer Sam Martin taking out top spot

Tech-savvy SA Dairy Farmer wins ‘2016 Lion Farmer of the Year’ Award

The ‘2016 Lion Farmer of the Year’ was announced this week with young South Australian dairy farmer Sam Martin taking out top spot for his innovative practices and an impressive commitment to quality.

Sam, the owner of Martin Dairies Trust in Wall Flat, South Australia, farms 350 head of cattle producing more than three million litres of milk annually.

Lion Dairy & Drinks (Lion) Agriculture Procurement Director Murray Jeffrey said: "We're delighted a young farmer like Sam is the standout winner of this year's award. There is much talk in the industry on the need for the next generation to take on the family farm. Sam is a great example of how younger farmers can bring fresh thinking and innovation to dairy farming. Having only recently taken over the family farm, Sam's achievements are all the more impressive."

Under Sam's leadership, Martin Dairies Trust has invested in technology to significantly improve yield and pasture quality. In one initiative, the farm has adopted cattle activity collars, using the resulting data to improve efficiency and breeding outcomes.

Sam has employed progressive irrigation techniques to grow pasture, delivering maximum home grown feed at minimum cost. Further, the judges commended Sam for keeping farming as simple as possible, consistently growing production levels while at the same time improving quality standards.

Sam received his award at Lion's annual Supplier of the Year Awards ceremony on Thursday 16 June 2016. On receipt of the award, Sam said: "I'm delighted to receive this award on behalf of all of us at the farm. We try to keep things simple but also be open to new ideas as to how we can improve quality and yield and manage costs. We've had a great year from that point of view. I hope the fact a younger farmer has taken out this year's award encourages others to take the decision to take on the family farm. It's a tough slog with ups and downs but I am certainly positive about the long-term future of our industry".

Sam’s milk is processed at Lion's milk manufacturing site at Salisbury in Northern Adelaide for Lion’s great branded dairy products including Pura Milk and Farmers Union Iced Coffee. Sam’s family has been continuously supplying milk for the Farmers Union brand since 1954.